Photomontage via the Sun
There evidently are not enough dwarves in the Netherlands, so they have taken to tossing Smart Cars into the canals. While one Smart Car salesman said to the Sun that "We're not supposed to talk about this because the police don't want the craze to spread but we've had quite a few drowned cars returned to us," The Infrastructurist had no such qualms about bringing news of this craze to America, shame on them. Like, we'd never do that.
Vince Soodin writes in the Sun:
Police fear the bizarre trend will spread to the UK and the rest of Europe.
Eco-friendly Smart cars are small enough to be picked up by just a few people and dumped into the Dutch capital's canals, reports De Telegraaf newspaper.
One victim Casper de Jong was woken by police after they found his Smart floating in the waterway outside his apartment.
Mr de Jong said: "Several weeks ago the same thing happened to my companion's Smart. Both cars were a complete write-off."
As the salesperson quoted above says the Smart people aren't too thrilled that this is happening and understandably so. I imagine if this is seen as too widespread of a problem they may worry people might reconsider purchasing the super-efficient vehicles. (Thankfully, this doesn't appear to be a widespread problem.)
But when one of the major selling points of the vehicles, is their tiny size, what is the company to do?
After all, these vehicles have been marketed specifically on their small size. A marketing campaign in Japan (see picture above) went so far as to put a Smart Car in what looked like a vending machine.
There have been contests to see how many people can fit in a Smart. (Apparently the current record is 18.) Worth-noting that the point of that marketing effort was likely to show how roomy the small cars are, but it simultaneously highlights their small size.
In New York you can get half-priced parking for Smart Cars. So, clearly the small size is a benefit and something the company is proud of. But what will they do to squash this type of damage from being done?
Exploding bike lock, inspiration for new Smart Car security?
This got us wondering what Smart Car owners or the company itself could do to protect the cars. Not long ago we covered an exploding bike lock prototype that explodes and covers a would-be thief in a colorful dye. This could possibly be used as a deterrent. A sensor could be programmed to set off a similar exploding dye as soon as the vandals pick up the vehicle. If this dye was pungent or laced w/ tear gas or some other deterrent, that could be enough to make someone reconsider tossing the car.
I'm sure there are other solutions and perhaps Smart already has a few in-the-works. But in the meantime, Smart Car owners might want to be extra careful when parking close bars and canals.